Smyzcek meets his mirror match in Ferrer defeat

Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:23am EST
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By Greg Stutchbury

(Reuters) - At times on Wednesday, Tim Smyczek thought he was playing against himself in a mirror. Only, the mirror image was just a little better.

The 25-year-old was actually facing world number five David Ferrer across the net on Margaret Court Arena, a player who the American has modelled his game on.

It's no surprise. The pair are of similar height at 1.75-metres and have a similarly slim build. Both run, and chase and get a lot of balls back in play.

The Spaniard, however, is about 120 places ahead of Smyczek in the world rankings and for the first nine games of their second round clash in the Australian Open, it showed.

Ferrer raced through the first set 6-0 in 25 minutes and when he went 3-0 up in the second the crowd were already preparing for the next match due on court.

Then, Smyczek won his first game, let out an almighty "Yes!", and the chasm between their respective rankings suddenly narrowed.

He was taking chances, making shots, getting more serves in - in his own words "taking it to" the Spaniard.

The lucky loser, who beat giant Croat Ivo Karlovic in the first round, dropped the second set 7-5 but took the third 6-4 to get the crowd behind him.   Continued...

Tim Smyczek of the U.S. celebrates defeating Ivo Karlovic of Croatia in their men's singles match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, January 14, 2013. REUTERS/David Gray